49ers potential draft-day trade partners for Trey Lance (if that happens)
By Peter Panacy
49ers Trade Partner No. 4: Pittsburgh Steelers
Let’s face it, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is finishing his last games in the NFL down the stretch, and there are some who’d argue he should have retired a while ago.
The Steelers picked the wrong time not to have a contingency plan at quarterback, as the 2022 NFL Draft options aren’t shaping up to be great, and the free-agent market isn’t going to be much better. Aside from what’ll likely be yet another trade-market carousel at the position this offseason, Pittsburgh is in a tough situation post-Big Ben.
The Steelers have a projected $43 million in cap space next season, which would be enough to absorb a high-profile veteran quarterback like Jimmy Garoppolo, and that’s always a possibility, too.
Yet it’s possible a team like Pittsburgh wants to rediscover the kind of consistency Roethlisberger brought to the table, perhaps preferring to take the lesser-known Trey Lance instead with the full hope of turning him into a franchise-caliber quarterback.
Again, it’s speculation. All of this is, and some of it is far-sighted. But onboarding Lance’s cheap rookie contract while parting ways with Roethlisberger’s deal would afford the Steelers to aggressively attack other areas of the free-agent market, namely fixing the offensive line and secondary.
Pittsburgh owns all of its picks in 2022 aside from a Round 6 selection, so the Niners may have to be content settling for a mid-Round 1 pick and perhaps a day-two pick as well to get any kind of talks going.